ACCC to name and shame dodgy Web sites

More than 20 agencies worldwide - including several from Australia – will sweep thousands of sites for misleading or fraudulent claims in the next 24 hours.

Consumer protection agencies worldwide have begun a 24-hour sweep of thousands of Web sites, aimed at testing the veracity of claims made on online shops.

More than 20 agencies worldwide will participate in the sweep. The Australian effort will be spearheaded by the ACCC.

State and territory fair trading offices and representatives from the Treasury and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will also participate.

The ACCC will be focusing on unrealistic, exaggerated and false claims made on online shopping sites.

Examples include false or exaggerated representations about products' performance or energy savings potential, or misleading information about consumers' refund rights.

The agencies will also seek to identify and expose fraudulent Web sites.

Suspicious sites will be flagged, and will face further investigation.

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Dylan Bushell-Embling

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